Nuclear Politics

Europe / Foratom Calls On Bloc To Recognise Nuclear As Strategic Industry

By David Dalton
11 March 2020

Group says industry ‘stands ready’ to help bloc achieve goals
Foratom Calls On Bloc To Recognise Nuclear As Strategic Industry
The Brussels-based nuclear industry group Foratom has welcomed a European Commission industrial strategy to help the bloc’s industry move towards climate neutrality and digital leadership, but called on the EU decision-makers to support the nuclear sector’s important role within the EU economy.

Foratom said in a statement that the European nuclear industry stands ready to help Europe achieve its goals in terms of providing clean energy and maintaining the region’s competitiveness.

The Commission’s strategy, which was published on Tuesday, made no mention of nuclear. It set out a range of actions to support European industry, including reducing red tape and improving access to financing.

One of the key challenges is ensuring that Europe’s industry has access to a secure supply of clean energy at a competitive price. This is crucial for maintaining Europe’s competitiveness.

“Nuclear energy can contribute to making this a reality” said Foratom director-general Yves Desbazeille. “Not only is it low-carbon, it is also flexible, dispatchable and cost-effective”.

Foratom said nuclear energy, which contributes about 26% of the EU’s electricity from 126 commercial reactors in 14 countries, is vital because it can help maintain the competitiveness of Europe’s industry as energy often accounts for a significant share of manufacturing costs,

It can decarbonise industry and contribute towards Europe’s 2050 carbon neutrality target, and it can provide industry with the energy it needs when it needs it, which is particularly important for processes which run 24/7.

“It is important to bear in mind that the European nuclear industry provides not only electricity, but also medical isotopes and other applications for industry and agriculture” said Mr Desbazeille. “In light of this, we firmly believe that the nuclear sector should be recognised as a strategic European industry”.

Foratom called on policymakers to introduce a stable EU policy framework which encourages investment in low-carbon technologies that have high overnight costs, such as nuclear.

Mr Desbazeille told NucNet recently that it would be enough recognition for the nuclear industry to be simply considered part of low-carbon energy sources in the industrial strategy and subsequent policy proposals.

“What we must absolutely avoid is to be explicitly excluded from these developments as was the case for the proposed Just Transition Fund”, he said.

“We are not asking for any special treatment, but rather for a level playing field for all low-carbon sources.”

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